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How to use credit card dining rewards

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    Whether you travel a lot or consider yourself a bit of a foodie, you may be curious about dining rewards. There are a variety of credit cards that reward you for eating out — so it's important to understand what dining rewards are, how to use them and which factors to consider when choosing a credit card.

    What are dining rewards?

    There are two main ways to earn dining rewards — by enrolling in restaurant rewards programs or by using a credit card that earns rewards on dining purchases.

    Enrolling in restaurant rewards programs is generally free. You can select your preferred program and then enter the information of the credit card you'll be using for those purchases. You can then search for participating restaurants for either take-out or dine-in purchases.

    Generally, you earn points on any money you spend — usually including tax and tip. Some programs may require you to share feedback about the restaurant about your experience to receive your rewards. You'll likely receive this survey after your purchase.

    If you have a credit card that offers dining rewards, you may be able to earn more points by using that linked card for dining purchases through your card's rewards program. If this is the case, you'll likely want to link that credit card when signing up for the restaurant rewards programs to ensure you're maximizing your rewards.

    Some credit cards with a focus on dining may also offer access to things like food and wine festivals, help you get hard-to-get reservations at a new restaurant, or provide unique culinary pop-up experiences. Some cards may feature annual dining credits to specific restaurants or delivery services. It is important to note, however, that some of these credit cards may come with an annual fee.

    Ways to use dining rewards

    As mentioned above, some credit cards offer points or miles for dining purchases at restaurants. Once you know how to earn rewards from dining, you get to decide how to use them. Knowing the ins and outs of your dining rewards credit card can help you make that decision.

    Some cards offer accelerated rewards on dining at restaurants. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card offers 3x points on dining purchases, and those points are worth 50% more when you redeem them on travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.

    Your card issuer may also allow you to redeem your dining rewards points for things such as gift cards, cash back, purchases at select retailers or dining-related rewards. For example, with some Chase cards you can use your points on Chase Dining to order takeout, book culinary experiences or access reservations.

    How to choose a credit card with dining rewards

    If you're looking to sign up for a credit card that offers dining rewards, there are a few factors to keep in mind when considering which card might be the right one for you.

    • Redemption options: Redemption of points can vary greatly between cards and issuers, so be sure to thoroughly research what your options would be and if they would work for you.
    • Lifestyle: If you are someone who eats out very regularly, then you may want to choose a credit card that offers great dining rewards. However, if you only eat out every once in a while, you may want to consider a card that offers rewards for additional categories beyond dining.
    • APR/interest rates: When choosing a credit card, you may want to take a close look at APR and interest rates, as some card issuers offer a promotional APR for a limited time from account opening.

    In summary

    If you like to eat out, you may want to consider credit cards with accelerated rewards on dining purchases the next time you're looking to apply for a new card. Not only could you be rewarded for visiting your favorite restaurant, but you may even get access to food festivals, new restaurant openings or other special culinary events.

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